January 27, 2009
Justin Rozzero

Monday Night Raw 1/26/09
Wolstein Center
Cleveland, OH
Announcers: Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler

- We start this week’s show with a recap of Randy Orton’s assault on Vince McMahon last week with some neat visual and audio effects mixed in. We then fade into the Wolstein Center where Lillian Garcia brings out Mr. Orton, who just happens to be your 2009 Royal Rumble winner. Orton is flanked by DiBiase and Rhodes and also by three suits. Cole and King talk about the rumored punishment that Orton could endure tonight. They also talk about Vince’s condition, mentioning that it is being kept under tight wraps. Randy introduces himself as well as his lawyers, therapist and the remaining members of Legacy. He is out here to discuss last week’s events. As we all know, he is a third generation superstar and WWE is in his blood and a part of him. Unfortunately, something else is a part of him as well. It is something that he has been living with for quite some time and that is IED, otherwise known as Intermittent Explosive Disorder. IED affects 16 million Americans and is a mental condition that causes sufficiently provoked individuals to lose control and act out violently. After he was slapped by Stephanie and had his job threatened, he had become sufficiently provoked. He says that his face afterwards proves he is not responsible for his actions. His therapist will confirm that WWE knew of his condition but did nothing about it and that is why if Steph chooses to fire Randy him tonight, he will sue her and WWE. That is just the first lawsuit and there happens to be a second. Last night, he won the 2009 Rumble, proving that he is more superior than everyone in the company. That is why he will sue for breach of contract if he does not get what he is legally entitled too: to compete in the main event of Wrestlemania. He asks Steph how two separate lawsuits and a loss of DiBiase and Rhodes would feel. They have vowed to walk out if Orton is fired tonight and with the three of them gone, the Raw roster will be empty of superstars. He has one more piece of business to attend to now and he pulls out a piece of paper. Randy reads a sanitized and sarcastic apology in a monotone voice as the crowd gets all over him. He is a man of honor and he offers his sincerest apologies to Vince, his family and the fans. Orton and his crew head off as Cole wraps up everything we just heard. We see Steph sneering at the TV backstage as we go to break.

1) Cryme Tyme vs. Miz & Morrison for the World Tag Team Championship

When we return, Shad and JTG are making their way to the ring as they try and take home tag team gold. They defeated Miz and Morrison last week to earn a shot here. Miz, Morrison and all of their hardware are out next and we are set for some action. Miz and JTG start things off and Miz gains early control. JTG reverses a whip top the corner and drops Miz with a face plant for two. Miz is able to back drop JTG to the apron and then take control when Morrison distracts him. He tags in Morrison, who went nearly 20 minutes in the Rumble last night. Morrison hammers away and gets a near fall. Morrison garbs a reverse chinlock as the hot crowd rallies JTG. Morrison lands a knee to the gut and tries a suplex, but JTG flips free and tags in Shad. He nails a clothesline and then beals Morrison across the ring. Shad eats a boot on a charge but takes Morrison over with a powerslam for a near fall. Morrison fires back but Shad plants him with the Nemesis, a legsweep Urinage. Miz is able to distract Shad, allowing Morrison to land the Moonlight Drive for the win. That was fun while it lasted but was a bit short. Miz & Morrison d. Cryme Tyme when Morrison pins Shad with the Moonlight Drive; Grade: 1.5

- Back at ringside, Jerry tells us that Vince always proclaims the show must go on, and it will in three weeks with No Way Out. And with that show also comes the return of the Elimination Chamber. We then go to a Chamber video package. Coming out of that, King tells us that both World Championships will be defended in Chambers. We are then interrupted by JBL. He tells us that there will be a special Chamber qualifying match tonight. Shawn Michaels will compete on behalf of him and when Shawn wins, JBL will be entered into the Chamber. Shawn’s opponent tonight will be…John Cena! King is stunned as we go to break.

- We are back and later we will be seeing the 12 Rounds trailer a bit later. But right now it is time for our weekly Cup of Kofi!

2) Kofi Kingston vs. Kane in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match

Kofi comes charging out and this is a hell of a shot for him to make the leap. Unfortunately, he will have to get by Kane first. Kane had a pretty good night last night in his 11th straight Rumble. The bell sounds and Kane slams Kofi hard to the mat. He hammers away at Kofi in the corner and then runs him into the top turnbuckle. He follows with a big clothesline in the corner for two as Cole runs down the Chamber rules. Kane continues to pound away but he misses a charge. Kofi charges and he eats a boot and goes down hard. Kane heads up top and drills Kofi with a flying clothesline, which Kofi sells like death. Kane lines up the chokeslam, but Kofi comes back with a kick to startle Kane. He charges, but Kane grabs him by the throat. He hoists Kofi up, but Kofi slips free and hooks a sunset flip for the win! Whoa, that one caught me off guard. Kofi and Kane are both in shock as Kofi heads to the back. Kingston d. Kane with a sunset flip; Grade: 1

- We take another look back at the Orton attack from last week before going to break.

- We are back in frozen Cleveland and King and Cole are wondering what will happen to Randy Orton tonight. Back inside the arena, we are joined by the 2008 Superstar of the Year, Chris Jericho. He is decked out in his suit and heads out to the top of the ramp. He says the locker room has been gushing over the Wrestler, a film starring Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke. We get a nice little video package about the movie, featuring comments from Rourke, who says it is the best movie he has ever made. Jericho says that one of those that gave the film a glowing review is Ric Flair. But even though Flair is retired, he has to stay in the spotlight that he craves. As a result, Rourke and Flair have become friends but Flair gave him bad advice. Last night on the red carpet, Rourke had some words for Jericho and we get a look at those comments right now. Rourke says he is coming to Wrestlemania to get his hands on Chris Jericho. Ric Flair, Roddy Piper and Afa are training him for the show. Jericho says that Rourke is out of line because it is one thing to play a wrestler, but it is different actually being one. Rourke’s comments have offended him and the last thing he or Flair should want to do is offend Chris Jericho. And we abruptly cut to JBL in the locker room. Shawn walks in and says he doesn’t want to go through this again. Shawn says he tried last night and did everything humanly possible to help. He kicked JBL last night to get Cena to let his guard down and then he took Cena out. JBL says that Shawn assumed he did everything possible last night. He also assumed somebody was watching his money, but that is why he is now working for JBL. JBL says he could fire Shawn right now, but JBL still has a shot to go to Wrestlemania as World Champion if Shawn beats Cena tonight. So, Shawn has one last chance to keep his job by beating Cena tonight. JBL walks off and we go to break.

- We are back and checking out our first Wrestlemania Moment which really just highlights the creation of Wrestlemania, showing clips from the inaugural event.

3) Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match for JBL

Shawn comes out with JBL and to JBL’s music, which is pretty funny stuff. Cena is out to a pretty good pop, mostly cheers this week. The crowd starts cheering for Cena and he seems to be the favorite here. Cena comes out firing, but Michaels hammers right back and lands some chops. Cena goes for a bulldog, but Shawn shoves him off. Cena comes back with a big right hand to send Shawn down. He goes for the Throwback, but Shawn bails to the floor to regroup as we go to break. When we return, Cena is picking up a near fall. Shawn locks in a figure four, but Cena reverses it and we get a quick break. Cena hits a belly to belly for two and then he goes to a rear chinlock. Shawn fights to his feet and elbows free but Cena sends him over with a big back body drop on a charge. Cena shoots Michaels hard into the corner. Michaels comes back with the flying forearm after they trade some punches. Shawn hits the inverted atomic drop and then slams Cena down. He heads outside, but gets caught on the apron. He fights Cena off and comes in, but Cena takes him down with a drop toehold and goes for the STF. Michael wriggles loose, but Cena hits a shoulderblock and spinning powerbomb. The crowd has now turned on Cena as he goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. As Cena comes at him, Shawn takes him down and locks in the Crossface. Cole reminds us of Cena’s neck surgery as the crowd is back behind Cena now. Cena tries to fight up, but Shawn is really wrenching the hold in now as Cena’s head is almost turned all the way around. Cena fights all the way to his feet with Shawn on his shoulders, but Shawn elbows free. Shawn charges, but Cena takes him down and locks in the STF to a huge pop. Shawn is reaching for the rope but Cena has it locked in tight. Shawn finally gets his arm over and garbs the rope to force the break. Cena is up and stalking Shawn as he pulls himself up with the ropes. Cena hoists Shawn up, but Shawn slips loose and gets a sunset flip for two. Shawn lands a chop and then shoots Cena into the corner and follows with another chop. Cena whips Shawn into the corner and he Flair flips, but rebounds with a big clothesline and both men are down. Both men are up and Shawn slams Cena down. He falls to his knees but slowly pulls himself up and heads up top. JBL comes over and yells at Shawn to superkick him but Shawn says he is doing it his way. He heads up top as JBL keeps screaming at him. JBL climbs up on the apron and Cena shoves JBL into Shawn, sending him crashing to the mat. Cena crushes Shawn with the Throwback and picks up the win, keeping JBL out of the Chamber. That was another great match between these two. It started slow, but the crowd got into the match halfway through and it hit anther gear for the finish. Cena d. Michaels with the Throwback; Grade: 3.5

- JBL is not happy as Cena walks to the back and Michaels is out in the center of the ring. JBL stares at Shawn as we get another clip from Orton’s attack last week. King and Cole talk about Orton’s apology from earlier and we get a clip of that as well. Backstage, the Grish is with Steph and he asks if action will be taken against Orton tonight. Steph says there will be action, and she will do it publicly to Orton’s face.

- The Verizon Wireless Rewind brings stills from the Phoenix/Melina title change from last night.

4) Melina & Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix & Jillian Hall

The new Champion is out next and she seems to be in very good spirits here tonight. The voluptuous Kelly is out to join her and she is then followed by a very angry Beth and Jillian. Santino graces us with his presence on commentary. He asks “JR” if he has been working out, saying he looks good. Melina and Beth start out and Melina hits a Thesz Press from the middle rope. Beth misses a charge and Jillian tags herself in. Cole and King talk about Santino’s record breaking performance in the Rumble as Kelly comes in and throws down with Jillian. Kelly gets tossed to the floor after a Beth distraction and Jillian follows her out and then tosses her back in. She tags in Beth, who hammers away at Kelly. As Beth is stopping Kelly from tagging, Rosa comes down and yanks Melina off the apron. Santino claims Melina fell as Beth plants Kelly with an inverted powerbomb for the win. That was a solid women’s match, but the focus was on Santino’s commentary as always. Phoenix & Hall d. Melina & Kelly when Phoenix pins Kelly with an inverted powerbomb; Grade: 1.5

- Our second Wrestlemania moment gives us clips of the great Hollywood spoof trailers and highlights of the matches from Wrestlemania 21. The focus then turns to the MITB match, omitting any shots of Benoit, natch. The main point to cap off the video is the rise of the Rated R Superstar.

- The Afro Samurai Slam of the Week recaps the Knox/Rey match from last week.

5) Rey Mysterio vs. William Regal in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match

We are back and Rey is out for our next Qualifying match. Regal and Layla are out next and Regal is looking to turn things around here. Rey kicks away off the bell and grabs a side headlock. He lands a boot to Regal’s face and hits the West Coast Pop. He charges Regal, but Regal just spikes Rey to the mat. He smacks Rey around in the corner and gets a near fall. Regal hooks a modified Tazmission but Rey fights free. He lands a boot to Regal but Regal catches Rey with a throw for a near fall. He drops a stiff knee on Rey and gets another near fall. Regal works Rey over in the corner and puts him down with a stiff forearm. He just keeps slugging away but Rey comes back with a few kicks. Regal catches him with a boot and tries a butterfly suplex, but Rey reverses it into an armdrag. He kicks Regal in the head, but Regal takes him over with a gutwrench suplex. Rey monkey flips Regal into the ropes and then clubs Regal across the middle rope. Rey nails the 619 and the springboard splash to advance to the Chamber. That was a neat little match and their styles meshed nicely. Mysterio d. Regal with a springboard splash; Grade: 2

- We are back and checking out downtown Cleveland as we hear Kevin Rudolf for the final time. Backstage, Rosa is begging Santino for forgiveness and she is upset how Beth was robber of the title. She rants on as Beth walks up behind her. Beth just stares at the both of them and then tells Santino they can keep her. She is very excited. Back at ringside, Cole sends us to the TV premier of 12 Rounds, starring John Cena. We head to break out of that.

6) CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho in an Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match

We are back and CM Punk is heading to the ring with a Chamber slot on the line. Jericho is out next and Cole and King talk about the Mickey Rourke challenge as Lawler compares it to Andy Kauffman. Punk grabs a side headlock off the bell and then takes Jericho over with a gutwrench suplex for one. He runs Jericho into the corner and then heads to the middle rope, but Jericho yanks him off. He stomps away and then punts Punk in the gut. Jericho mares Punk over and grabs a reverse chinlock. Cole tells us that Jericho has been in four Chambers in his career while Punk has been in one. Punk comes back with a back elbow and lands the charging knee and bulldog. Punk heads to the apron and nails the springboard clothesline for two. Punk sits Jericho on the top rope and follows him up. He takes Jericho off with a top rope Frankensteiner for two. Punk hoists Jericho up for the G2S, but Jericho slides free and gets a sunset flip for two. They trade near falls until Jericho is able to go for the Walls. Punk flips Jericho off and gets a jackknife cover for two. Jericho bridges up and drills the Codebreaker for the win. This was another nice little match that kept a good pace throughout. Jericho d. Punk with the Codebreaker; Grade: 2.5

- We get another clip of the Orton attack before we head to our final break.

- We are back and Cole plugs Rev Theory’s new album. Back inside the arena, Stephanie is making her way to the ring. She is here to address Orton’s actions and potential lawsuits, a halfhearted apology and a Rumble win will not get him off the hook. She calls Orton out and he obliges and is once again flanked by Legacy, his lawyers and therapist. Before Steph says another word, she needs to ask herself a question: does she want to go through with this. If Steph fires him, she will subject herself to a nightmare. The whole Legacy will be gone, taking the Raw star power with it. Randy’s lawyer explains IED for Steph and says that WWE ignoring his condition is negligent and unlike the employee Steph humiliated last week, Orton will not get one his knees to apologize. If she fires Randy, there will be consequences. Steph says he kicked Vince in the head and he has the audacity to come out here and threaten lawsuits. Orton says he has the right to fight at Wrestlemania and if he is fired, he will sue and file an injunction to shut down Wrestlemania. The entire Raw roster walks out on to the stage to stare down Randy. Orton says he doesn’t care whether or not they have a Wrestlemania. If he is fired, he will take them all down with him. He says that is what he will do and tells Steph to fire him. He begs her to do it so he can sue the whole company, cancel Wrestlemania and put all the ingrates out of work. Steph says that firing him would be too easy and that they have bigger plans. And…here comes the money! The sea of wrestlers parts as Shane walks out and he is not looking very happy. He takes off his jacket and powerwalks to the ring. He climbs inside and Rhodes and DiBiase stand in front of him. Shane tackles Orton, but Rhodes and DiBiase pull him off. Shane breaks loose and dives on Orton again, but the numbers catch up to him. Shane fights loose again and hammers away at Orton until the troops take him down again. Shane gets back up and slugs away at Orton and Rhodes. DiBiase helps a weary Orton to the back as Rhodes keeps Shane tangled up in the corner. Shane heads out after them and hammers Orton, but DiBiase takes him down. Now the whole roster gets involved and pulls everyone apart as Randy escapes. Shane flips and starts flailing at poor Kofi as we fade out.

Final Analysis

The opening segment continued the awesomeness that is Randy Orton. It was so old school and tremendously heelish that I can’t really describe it in words. Just great stuff from someone who is just locked in right now and his facial expressions and delivery are top notch. The tag title match was solid stuff but was too short to mean anything. The Kofi win was a great surprise as I thought for sure Kane was walking over him. That kept the night feeling special and also kept the crowd in it. The Jericho/Rourke Wrestlemania showdown was also kicked off tonight with another truthful, tremendously executed Jericho promo. He and Orton just keep raising the bar on each other. Cena and Michaels had another great TV match that had a red hot crowd and ending. It looks like the Shawn/JBL angle will wrap up at No Way Out based on the happenings tonight. The Diva tag was solid as always and Santino got in a few funny lines in his brief announcing time. Rosa got involved again and you wonder if they will eventually turn Beth face and have Santino go with Rosa. Rey and Regal had a good match and I think it would be neat if they got a PPV encounter down the line as they meshed nicely. The Punk/Jericho match was solid as well, but again, it was a condensed version of their usual outings. Jericho advances, though, and Punk is on the outside looking in. The main event segment was great as Orton is just amazing at this point. Steph held her own too and it was good to see Shane back in the mix, although I could have gone without him taking out the Legacy. I would let it slide due to the adrenaline Shane would have over the assault of his dad, but Orton is the hottest heel they have and he didn't need to get peppered around by Shane like that. We got a lot of in ring action tonight and most of the matches were solid, albeit short, with a great one mixed in. The build for No Way Out started up as some of the Chamber participants were locked in. All in all, this show had a great flow, was clearly focused and flew by. Hopefully the rest of the Road to Wrestlemania is this smooth. Final Grade: B+

MVP: Legacy
Runner Up: John Cena & Shawn Michaels
Non MVP: Shane McMahon
Runner Up: John Bradshaw Layfield

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